In 1891 Payette supported several prosperous businesses. There were two general stores, two drug stores, two livery stables, two hotels, one hardware and stove store, and the Payette Valley Bank. Also, there was a large sawmill, operating day and night yet unable to meet the demand for more lumber; and Payette had two of the largest nurseries and prune orchards in the northwest states, sending out large shipments to the east and west. There were also two large brick manufactories, a four-room school house, two churches, and easy access to large quarries of good building stone.
C.Q. Haines, a well-known farmer, made the brick for Payette’s first schoolhouse, the Zimmer Building, and the Moss Mercantile Company. He had a brickyard on F.C. Moss’ place southwest of town. Another first-class brick manufacturer was Clark Sherwood’s brickyard. The interval between 1896 and 1899 was known as Payette’s “Brick Age.” It was during this period that the early settlers decided to establish a permanent city and initiate rapid development of the Payette Valley.
Also, in 1891, Bert Venable founded the Payette Independent Newspaper at the urging of local merchants who felt the need of a newspaper to boost and. promote their town and its trading area. The Bell Telephone Company lines reached Payette in 1898.
In 1894 the town opened a large, two-story brick Payette Public School building. Until destroyed by fire in 1925, the school was located in the center of what is now Payette’s Central Park.
In 1903 the Idaho Canning Company was formed, canning dry beans and sweet corn. Today, the company’s Tom Thumb label products are sold throughout the world. Also, in 1903, the J.W. Prestel and Sons planing mill opened with a capacity of 50,000 feet of finished lumber per day. In 1909 Payette’s first movie house, “The Emma” was built.
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